Category Archives: Jillian Chantal

The End of an Era

Jillian here. This month, I’ll be truly sharing what many are discussing today over backyard fences all over the world. A true end of an era. 

For most of us, we have only been alive during the reign of one monarch in the United Kingdom. Some were alive before she took the throne, but would have been young people or children at the time she ascended. Yes, of course, I mean Queen Elizabeth II. 

Even though I’m an American through and through, I have a special love for our neighbors across the pond. My ancestry is both English and Scottish. My paternal grandfather’s side of the family comes from the clan MacDonald and my paternal grandmother’s side were Londoners from a very long time ago. Both sides came to the USA early on—late 1600s.  My fifth generation back great-grandfather enlisted in George Washington’s army when he was only 15 and almost froze to death at Valley Forge. My MacDonald relatives fled Scotland near the time of the Glencoe massacre so we’re definitely long term residents of the North American continent. 

That doesn’t take away from the fact that I love the United Kingdom. In fact, every time I visit, I feel like I’ve come home. It’s kind of weird how that feeling just comes over me from the minute I step off the plane. 

I don’t know that I’d call myself a monarchist, but I do enjoy reading about and studying the history of the various countries making up the UK. I have followed the lives of the current royal family since Lady Diana became engaged to Prince Charles. She and I were the same age and both had two sons so I felt an affinity for her. 

Queen Elizabeth was a woman to be looked up to. She worked hard in the time of WWII and made herself useful. From the time she took the throne—and even before that—she served her country tirelessly. Even up to the Tuesday before she passed away on Thursday. That’s admirable. Ninety-six years old and still working. Very impressive. 

I didn’t think she’d live long once she lost her husband. It’s a sad fact that many long term partners pass away in close proximity to each other. They become so dependent on each other, they seem to deteriorate faster once one is gone. She had been looking quite frail lately which was worrisome. 

I was saddened by a lot of ugly comments online about the queen’s passing. I get that some people do not admire her nor the institution she represented, but at the end of the day, she was a woman. A human being. A mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, friend. Her family, no matter  rank or standing, has a huge loss to cope with just in their personal capacity, not even considering succession and all that entails. I wish the people making such unkind comments would take a moment and remember that.  Can you imagine having to grieve in such a public way? And subject to nasty comments? It would make it so much harder, I think. 

The end of the second Elizabethan era comes to an end and the beginning of the third Charles era begins. What do we call it? Charlesian? 

It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes to change over all the currency, beefeater uniforms, post boxes, etc. Not many of us would have been witness to those kind of mundane changes when Queen Elizabeth took over from her father. History. We’re living history right now. A front row seat, so to speak. 

August!

Jillian here. Can you believe it’s already August and will be in the double digits of August tomorrow? Where is the time going?

I have completed (with my editor) edits on my newest book which will be under my other name. I hope to make a series of this one, but I am having a dickens of a time figuring out a cover plan. I used a lot of local places in the story and lots of local ghost lore with the historical buildings and areas being visited by the heroine. I don’t want a cluttered cover and am not sure about the new covers out there for cozy mysteries and so I am just at a standstill with the book. Gotta figure it out! LOL!

My mom and sister both are August babies so I actually went out shopping (!) for their gifts last week. I am not a shopper at all so this was big.

Premier league football (soccer for the USA crowd) has started back and I am cheering on the Liverpool team as I have for over 20 years.

The air conditioning has been out at my office and we are sweltering. Have had my fans going and windows open– a small breeze is always an “ahhh” moment. We have had two estimates for a new unit and waiting on a 3rd. Over $8,000.00 is what we’re looking to have to spend. UGH! But it has to be done. We’ve had some rain too so that helps cool it off. It’s decision time, though.

The best news of the month is that my husband will finish his cancer treatment this week and we can’t wait for him to ring that bell on Friday. We have kept it on the down-low on FB as he didn’t want all his extended family to tell the whole town where he is from. A small town in Alabama where he only had 18 people in his graduating class. He hates even when his sisters call to check on him so he sure didn’t want the whole town to know. 🙂 (and I’ve now told the whole blogger-verse!)

Happy August to all!

My Sweet Baboo!

Christmas in July? Well, Sort of….

Jillian here! Hope everyone is having a nice summer. It’s been wild weatherwise here. Over 100 degrees Fahrenheit with over 111 heat index every day for a couple of weeks in June, then rainstorms with thunder and lightning all day, every day (dark as night at noon) for the end of June and first six days of July. As I write this, we’re back to more normal temps of around 85-90 and only small afternoon thunderstorms.

All this heat and rain misery made me decide to start reading a book I got at Christmas – It’s called The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries and is a collection of a ton of stories set at the festive season. Lots of favorite writers have set mysteries at Christmas and this book is chock-a-block. From Agatha Christie to Peter Lovesey, to Colin Dexter, Rex Stout, O. Henry, John Mortimer, Ellery Queen, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (and some new to me authors that I am digging), I am loving this set of stories. The pages are double-columned so its 640 pages is more like 1,280 pages– enough to keep me entertained for the month, I hope… Except I am almost to page 400 already and it’s only 8 days into the month. LOL

I am liking this collection of tales so much, I ordered The Big Book of Ghost Stories edited by this same gentleman. He has great taste in stories.

Here is the cover and the list of stories sorted into types. Hope you recognize some of your favorite writers, too. – I love the picture from the 1930s, don’t you?

June– Hot, Hot! SUMMER!!

Jillian here – hope everyone is doing fine. It’s already in the 90s here in sunny NW Florida. It doesn’t feel too bad when the wind is blowing, but man, inside the car is a whole ‘nother story– boiling hot. It’s amazing how much like an inferno (one without flames) it can get inside an auto. Aug and Sept are our two hottest months, so something to look forward to….NOPE!

I recently ordered a book when I saw the author on the Jeopardy quiz show as she intrigued me as a lawyer who wrote thrillers. I just finished reading it and it was okay except there was no one I liked in the whole book. I hate it when I don’t have someone to root for, don’t you? The protagonist was a lawyer and made some super bone-headed moves that even a first year law student knows they shouldn’t do. She was quite unlikeable as well– snobbish and a liar. But I kept reading, so clearly, something was appealing to me, right?

Like Laurie, I enjoyed the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and watched some of the festivities online. What an amazing lady she is. Admirable.

The grandson had his last day of preschool summer party and I love, love this photo of him in the mini pool as all the other children were being dried off. It’s just pure joy!

Happy summer to my sweet Baboo as well as all of you!

Mother’s Day

Jillian here. Happy May. Sorry I missed April. For days before it was my day, I debated what to say and then when the day actually came, I still had nothing. Lol. I don’t have much today either. I’ve fallen into a terrible rut of work, home, work, home, work, ad infinitum. I gotta get out more. 🙂

Yesterday was Mother’s Day here in the US. Hope all who celebrated had a nice one. Mr. C and I ate brunch with my parents at Cracker Barrel. My sister was sick so she didn’t make it. Mom always picks where we go, so off we went. We set 9:00 as the time hoping to miss the breakfast crowd and get there before the lunch bunch. Didn’t work out to plan as it was a fifty minute wait for a table. Good thing it was breezy and 67 degrees F (19 C). Sitting on the porch on rockers was nice. Mom doesn’t eat much these days, but she ate a ton yesterday. I told her that was the most I’d seen her eat in years and she said she knew but she was starving. I guess making her wait 50 minutes plus cooking time is the way to get her to eat more. 🙂

I got to face time with my older son and his family. When I got on, their dog, Primm, was across the room. I called out, “Hey, Miss Primm,” and she came running toward the screen. She let me chat with her a few minutes but ambled off when I couldn’t pet her.

Had a good conversation with them and watched grandson play a matching numbers game on his tablet. He said he wanted to come to my house and that made me happy for sure. Being only two years old and 7 hours away, I worry that he won’t know me and so when he asks to visit, that means a lot.

My younger son works for me and gave me a bath and body store gift card. He said his real gift was to finish all the backlog of filing on top of the cabinets (it’s been driving me bonkers). Imma gonna remind him of that about Thursday. Hehehe. 🙂

Here’s Miss Primm and her fancy portrait.

A Little Adventure For Me

Jillian here. Happy March. I went on a little adventure last weekend to a conference in Orlando and got to spend some time with my son and his family. It was fun, but exhausting as the drive is always a pain- about 7 hours each way. AND when I stay at my son’s, since they took down the mattress in their guest room, they put up a blow up bed. And it tends to lose air in the night, so I have to keep turning on the motor to re-blow it up to the full air setting or it’s like trying to crawl out of a bowl of soup when I have to take my mid-night trips to the bathroom. LOL – so, good rest is hard to get. AND one time on the first night, in the dark, I turned the motor switch the wrong way and ended up flat on the cold, wood floor. That was insane, but at least I could get it back full of air in short order. 🙂 And then my hip hurt. Woe was me. 🙂

While my daughter-in-law was out with her mother’s group on Thursday night, my son, grandson and I went for ice cream to a place called Jeremiah’s. Their logo is a frog from the “Jeremiah was a bull frog” song- my son, the architect, is the designer for a number of them as they move from a regional company to expanding with franchises in a number of states, so I wanted to check them out as we don’t have them here.

The first morning I was there, when my grandson woke, the first thing he said was, “Where’s Nonna?” His mom told him I was in the kitchen. He said, “I want to see Nonna.” She said, “Let’s change your diaper first.” He said, “No. See Nonna first.” That made my heart sing. He’s a sweetie AND he likes me! 🙂

The hotel where I stayed one night during the conference has inside balconies and you can actually go out on them. There’s a rail but no safety measures. I was on the 7th floor. The lawyer in me was screaming inside at the risk factor there. LOL

While at the conference, I attended a dinner for the former state officers of the organization and the theme was Mardi Gras. We all got beads and masks so I took them home for my grandson. He had a blast with them- putting them on his mom, dad and me.

It was a great visit–too short– and I’m dragging my tailfeathers this week at work, but I wouldn’t trade sleep for time with these people I love.

Praying for the people in the Ukraine who are being bombed and losing loved ones while they live in terror. I can’t even imagine their fear and anxiety and grief.

My County’s American History Fair 2022

Jillian here. Happy February!

I was lucky enough to be part of the judging for the American History Fair in my county this year again. There were fewer entries which made me sad, but the students work really hard and it definitely shows. Some are in middle school and some in high school. This year’s theme was diplomacy and debate. I’m sharing a sampling of the displays I liked the most.

I wasn’t really sure what the La Belle Epoque one had to do with diplomacy or debate, but it was very visually appealing. I can’t recall what the paper the students had to provide with their display said, but I liked the board. LOL

Hoping everyone has a great month and stays warm– it’s even cold here where I am- 30s Fahrenheit in the nights and into daytime. Brr!

January 2022- An Ear-ie Tale

Jillian here- Happy New Year- My Christmas was very nice—the son, DIL and grandson visited from the 23rd and left on the morning of the 29th, after a nice family dinner treat by my son for my birthday at one of my favorite places- The Tuscan Oven which is locally owned and they cook in an open flame beehive oven imported from Italy.  Makes for some great pizza, breads and pasta.  I’m attaching a picture of the grand- He’s growing to look more like a little boy than baby.

Our weather this time of year fluctuates wildly- December left us in the high 70s temperature-wise in the day and 60s at night.  Then it went down into the 30s at night and 50s in the day for a few days. Then high 70s again for about 4 days. Now it’s back to 30s at night and 50s in the day. It’s no wonder we can’t figure out what to wear- besides layers, that is. 🙂

I had three ear infections in 2021 and my ear started hurting again a couple of weeks before Christmas. I decided to go to an ENT instead of my regular doctor since, clearly, this was becoming a chronic thing. Weirdly, I had a hard time finding one- first one I called, the number was disconnected; second one was pediatric only (even though website said all ages); third was referral only and first appointment available was March!; and the fourth, I was able to get an appointment—their website had no reviews, so I figured he was new.

When I got there, he def. was new as the place still smelled like fresh construction and one employee was putting together some desks. Other furniture was being delivered as well. Lots of fancy equipment as well—expensive!  They did a CT scan of my head first thing and then asked me a ton of questions about my sinuses (!) and then the triage nurse asked if I’d been using nasal spray—I said, “I have an ear infection. I’d never think of nasal spray for that.” Her response? “It’s all connected.” When I told her I hated that stuff anyway as it goes down the throat and tastes terrible, she responded by squirting stuff into both my nostrils!! WHAT?!?

By the time the physician’s assistant came in, I WAS having breathing issues.  That chick’s nasal spray clogged my right side. It was crazy. I was there for EARS! Actually just one ear… LOL

More fancy equipment was a big screen television and a camera the PA stuck in my ear – then all the glory of my inner ear was on the screen—it looked pretty disgusting. She said the right ear now had a fungal infection—the others had been bacterial and had never healed so it was now a fungus…I didn’t really understand haw that happens, but whatever, just fix me.

The PA had the doctor come in to verify that it was fungal to give me the right meds. He cleaned my ear out with another fancy piece of equipment and made a comment to the PA that I had eczema in the inside of my ear. Well, of course, I heard him say it since my ear was right there, so I asked if the fungal infection could cause that since I’ve never had eczema before. He was unbelievably arrogant and dismissive when he responded to me—I can’t say he answered my question because he didn’t—he spouted a bunch of nonsense saying I must be susceptible to yeast infections. He acted offended that I would ask a question of his royal highness. I did not like him at all. I’ve never had a yeast infection either—and how does that relate to eczema? Or my ear infection? It was totally bizarre!

As soon as the doctor left the room, the PA apologized for his behavior. She said he was rude and she was sorry. How odd is that? Even she noticed it –I didn’t even say a word about it and really, had not planned to. It seems he is more interested in sinus issues and allergies as the triage nurse had asked me about having a battery of allergy testing done (which also was not why I was there).

I got a prescription and a follow up visit set, but I’m not sure I want to return to Weirdsville even though I liked the PA.  I can say this though, as a professional myself, he is not going to make it very far in this new endeavor of his (and be able to pay for all his fancy gadgets) unless he learns to be tolerant, kinder and more patient with the patients (LOL- see what I did there?).

Enjoy your January!

Tree Topper- A Cherished Keepsake

Jillian here. Happy December. I thought I’d share about my tree topper today since I don’t have much else to say exciting — been having some stress at the day job and it’s time to put that aside and talk about something less legally intense. 🙂

In the fall of 1986, I was twenty-five and pregnant with my first child and had been a lawyer for a bit over two years. Back then, salaries weren’t that great. A beginning lawyer made from $18,000-$20,000 a year (which translates to around $43,000- 47,000.00 now with inflation). I had just started a new job with a firm (had previously done overflow work from another lawyer and did okay with that financially, but since I was pregnant, I wanted a more steady salary and benefits). I was making $24,000.00 a year there (about $58,000.00 in today’s money. I’m telling you all this to say that $35.00 for a tree topper was a lot of money in that time ($88.00 with inflation). 🙂

There was a cute shop down the street from the law firm where I worked that sold a variety of items. It’s now a lamp and lighting showroom, but back then, they carried lots of knick-knacks, household furnishings, soft goods and, at the holiday season, it was a wonderland of goodies.

In the first years of our marriage, we had an el-cheapo topper that was a circle with lights and shiny greenery around them. It flashed on and off and was a fun thing on our tree. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it. 🙂

One day, on my lunch hour, I walked around this store and found this lovely Father Christmas who absolutely spoke to me. He looked nothing like our traditional Coca-Cola Santa Claus here in the USA, but he was beautiful and absolutely stole my heart. He’s wearing a silk coat with fur attached and his face, beard, and hands are beautiful porcelain. The toys in his pack are lovely, too–even a little Christmas tree peeking out. I fell in love at first sight. But he was $35.00. It seemed like too much to pay at the time, so I left.

But he was still speaking to me. He was calling my name down the highway and into my office… he was relentless…. so, there was nothing I could do. I had to go back the next day to buy him. He was happy, I was happy, and even the baby I was carrying seemed to approve. 🙂

Now, 35 years later, I still relish getting him out of the Christmas box every year and getting him on the tree. He still makes my heart happy–and at $1.00 per year net cost (so far), he’s been a great investment, right?

Two Weddings, Too Many Funerals

Jillian here. Happy November. I’ve been having a mixed month and a half. I went to two weddings and a memorial service for a colleague. I also had four friends lose their mothers in one week. That was a bit startling, to say the least. One of them, her mother had been ill with a second bout of cancer for a while and one of the others, her mom was 95 and hadn’t been doing well for a while. It was still kind of sad to lose them both in the same day—I knew both of those ladies well as one was my college roommates’ mom and the other was a colleague in Tallahassee’s mom who I often went to dinner with when I was over there. The other two, I didn’t know their moms, but they are special friends and my heart hurt for them.

My colleague who passed away was an excellent attorney and a very gentle soul. I know those two words don’t usually go together, but he truly was a gentle man. I never, in all the years I knew him, ever heard him raise his voice or get angry. He was kind and really had a great sense of humor. He loved to debate issues even to the point of taking the opposite side of what he believed himself just for fun and to add to the conversation. He called me at the beginning of September and we had a nice chat. He’d just come out of the hospital and had been in a diabetic coma. He never said he was ill other than that incident. I was shocked to learn in mid-October when they announced his memorial service that he died about a week after that phone call—pancreatic cancer. He’d been battling it for 11 months. It just goes to show your last conversation with someone could very well be the last one. I’ll treasure the fact that he called me to chat on that day and am grateful I was there to take the call. I also wonder if he was taking the time to say goodbye to people he thought of as friends as it was a very cheery call. But that was his personality so it didn’t seem odd.

On a happier note, I attended two weddings within a few weeks of each other. Each was outdoor and next to a lake. One was warm and one was cold- weather wise. One was a writer friend in Tallahassee. She had a horrific marriage in the past and I was so happy for her when she found love again with a man who clearly is kind and will take good care of her heart.

The other wedding was a great nephew’s. The girl he married is a sweet young lady and they seem very well matched. I think I posted here before about her bridal shower where they never cut the cake. The same thing happened at the wedding. They did the cake cutting part for pictures with them, but then never served it. It was crazy. My sister-in-law, the grandmother of the groom, finally went over and got some for the people at our table. Usually there is someone there to serve it—even the caterer would have been a good plan—except I’m not sure they would if they didn’t do the cake. It was one of those trendy naked cakes. When one of my friends saw the picture of the cake, she said, “I don’t know who did that cake but they need to get a refund. The person that iced it did a terrible job.” 🙂

I’m heading down this weekend to the grandson’s second birthday party. I’m glad my son and his wife plan them for two weeks before the actual day since he was born Thanksgiving week. Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest times for Walt Disney World and, as they live in the same metro area as the parks, it’s a nightmare (traffic-wise) to go down there then.

Hope everyone has a great month. Here are a few pics of the weddings.